2 Corinthians 2:14-17
It was the first day of autumn, but I could still smell summer. You know the smell. Autumn is different. There the musty smell of lingering moisture and the hint of burning leaves remind us of change. Maybe the aroma brings to mind a morning walk, a Saturday afternoon after raking a yard, or even a hayride with a campfire. Maybe there are thoughts of a special part of your life, maybe even teen years when love is so fresh, exciting, available, and yet elusive. Football games, changing vibrant colors, and the sense of time being extremely valuable are all a part of autumn. Such is the power of smell and the memory it elicits.
Somewhere I read or heard that smell is the strongest long term memory that we have. Some memories fade and become distorted with time. Smell remains very strong.
So, it was the first day of autumn, but I could still smell summer. As I stepped out of the gym a little rain had been falling. The ground was lightly wet, and it was still sprinkling. The very warm wind had stirred dust and other things into the air. As the rain fell, it had that summer smell. It took me to childhood.
We would often go to a lake house, a fishing cabin that my grandparents had built. It was at a small lake in the rugged country about thirty miles south of Sweetwater, Texas. Some of my favorite memories are tied to that place and time. Once in a while a thunderstorm would blow through the area and drop enough rain to moisten the settling dust. There was with the storm a particular smell. So as the smell on that first day of autumn reached into my rather large olfactory memory I was again a child. My cousins and I would chase lizards, fish, swim, and wander through the countryside. There was a simply ease to life. There were no bills to pay. There were no projects to be prepared. Our biggest worry was whether we could make it to the water barefoot without any grass burrs. Late in the day, my mother and grandparents would sit in the shade to relax and simply talk about whatever came to mind. Life was good.
I know that some smell memories are not exactly pleasant. Still, it seems that the ones that are often override the ones that are not. The smell of Sunday dinner, a beautiful girl’s perfume, a high school locker room, and your parents house are among those evocative memories that aroma brings to life.
We have our own aroma. We carry it to the people with whom we share our lives. I know that this interpersonal aroma is not so much about smell, but it does leave a lasting impression. I do wonder from time to time, what kind of aroma I have left.
As I walked to the car on that first day of autumn and thought about those summers so long ago, I remembered good things. Then a thought crossed my mind. I wondered about the smells of heaven. It has to be good.